Session: Net Neutrality and threats to fundamental rights in europe

Internet has become essential for the exercise of our fundamental freedoms.

Yet, entertainment industries see the Net as a threat to their existing business models, mostly based on controlling distribution channels of information. Worse, telecom operators see new opportunities in monetizing restrictions to Internet access. The interests of both groups are now converging with the help of a portion of the political class wary of the way the Net upsets their objective of controlling the public sphere so as to retain power. Several legislative projects are contemplating different ways of restricting access to the Net: from the provisions on operators’ contracts in the “Telecoms Package” directives to website blocking in the name of child protection, from the ongoing war against file sharing lead by the entertainment industries in Europe to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement currently being negotiated at the global level…

Restrictions to our access to the Net, from the most obvious (cutoff in the “HADOPI” law in France, censorship in China), to the most subtle (blocking of selected aplications or services, bandwidth prioritization or reduction, etc.) are as many restrictions to our fundamental freedoms, including the most essential freedom of expression. Are these different regulatory projects turning into a global war on the Internet, therefore a war on our freedoms? What is the state of the play? What can we do as citizens?